Clare O’Beara is a prolific, award-winning author who also happens to be a tree surgeon, national showjumping champion, book reviewer for Fresh Fiction, previous MENSA leader and volunteer, and advocate for gifted education among other talents and abilities. Her fourteen books are in several genres including science fiction, mystery, romance, and young adult (YA). She contributed to two anthologies including Dreamless Roads. She won first place for Arkady Renko a 2014 short story contest judged by Martin Cruz Smith and Sponsored by Simon & Schuster.
I happened upon the author’s books beginning with one in her science fiction set of four books in a series. Hooked, I had to just stop everything and read them all. I later found the rest of her books. I liked the Dining Out Around the Solar System series as much as the Wool series by Hugh Howey, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books by Steig Larsson. All of these series were stop everything, drop, and read as we say in elementary school (DEAR) for silent reading time in class. I was so happy to find another such series. I’m now working my way through the murder mystery series, although I probably should have checked to notice the order of the books first. If she is the author, I just click buy.
Most of the books by Clare O’Beara are autobiographical fiction to some degree as she writes what she knows: car engines, tree health, cats, detectives (I am assuming), MENSA, gifted education, and even climate change. I like learning facts when I read, and multi-genre fiction/nonfiction appeals to me. I finish her books “smarter” about a few topics.
As we were in Dublin recently, I was able to meet with Clare and her husband, Allan Tennent. When I asked how long she had been writing, she said she had been writing forever. She said she realized self-publishing worked well when she saw an increasing amount of such books on Fresh Fiction (based in Texas). She uploaded the first five books to Amazon all at once in 2014. To me, that was quite an excellent start to have that many books. She bought ten ISBNs immediately and used seven in the first year. With her own YouTube channel, she shares book trailers as well as other information in videos she creates.
Allan is her IT person. He designs the covers, creates the website, prints the publicity materials, and is the to-go person for technical support. This helps Clare focus on her writing and book reviews.
We saw the statue of Molly Malone that appears on the cover of Murder at the Irish Mensa and snapped this photo. I didn’t even realize there was such a statue until I saw it on the cover of the book before our trip. It was more interesting having just finished reading Murder at the Dublin Mensa as we landed in the city.
O’Beara is a lifelong learner. She has multiple interests and is a multimedia journalism student. She has learned WordPress, how to make videos which are on her YouTube channel, how to self-publish, how to prepare her own marketing materials, how to enter and win writing awards, take care of cats, organize MENSA events, and be an active tree surgeon. (She informed me a tree surgeon in America would be called an arborist.) Such a person is mindful to me of the multi-potentiality of gifted education students. A real-life example of a person with multiple potential!
She makes her own video book trailers, such as this one for Dining Out Around the Solar System. Take two minutes to watch the video and see why the book is so interesting. Although science fiction books are set in the future, the problems of society are mirrored in the future lives of people. Racism, college grads with huge debts and low paying jobs, struggles of young people as they climb the work ladder, oppressive corporations, the competitive work environment, and climate change are all threads woven through this series. O’Beara said she is happy if people read them as allegory or narrative fiction. Reading happens in the mind of the reader, not only from the text. I previously reviewed these books on The New Book Review site.
Dining Out Around the Solar System (Book 1)
Dining Out with the Gas Giants (Book 2)
Dining Out with the Gas Giants (Book 3)
Dining Out on Planet Mercury (Book 4)
I also have reviewed other books by O’Beara on Amazon, such as this one for Murder at the Dublin Mensa.
Being interested in climate change, she recommends the movie Mimicking Africa for those interested in sustainable animal agriculture. She spoke fondly of the Fota Wildlife Sanctuary in Ireland where some of the giraffes and zebras spend half the year there and then rotate with places in the zoo. Those animals do not have to live in the zoo all year. Fota is known as a successful cheetah breeding center. She mentioned a book, Mules, as being highly informative.
I was lucky to catch her when her schedule allowed as she has just helped as the official film recorder for the Science Fiction World Con (notice her t-shirt) and was their Hugo Awards problem-solver. She is back in journalism school soon, and the tree season is still busy. Whew! It was wonderful to meet her in person.
Thank you for reading, Carolyn